The Braves have had three lousy seasons in a row. They have been in rebuild mode the past two, yet they have remained defiant, adamant before each season that they can compete.
Will the Braves contend in 2017? Or will the spring chest beating fall flat again?
“I don’t think anybody came in with the idea that we were going to blow this thing up,” John Hart said. “We held onto our core guys. We never discussed them. These are our core guys. We’re not looking to run up the white flag and not compete. We’re going in with the idea that we’re going to attempt to be a playoff team this year.”
That is what Hart said before the 2015 season. The Braves finished 67-95. He said similar before 2016. That is what he is paid to say.
When the rebuild started the Braves party line was that they would be ready to contend in 2017 when the new stadium opened. That was the goal, that is what they pointed towards. Will they contend in 2017? It depends on what you mean by contend, I guess.
If by contend you mean that the Braves could be a few games out of the last wild card slot in July, then yes they probably have a chance to contend. If by contend you mean World Series Championship, then no, they have absolutely no chance to contend.
There’s just too many “ifs” on this roster. Guys like Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Brandon Phillips could all have good years. They could also just as easily go down with debilitating injuries. Bill James, the great baseball guru once said, “old knees don’t get better, they just get older.” You can expand that saying to every moving part in the body.
I’d like to think the 2017 Braves will make the playoffs, but I don’t think they will. What this team will be though, is very interesting and worth watching.